Life Cycle Assessment for Circular Economy: A Case Study with Hard Drives and Rare Earth Elements

Life Cycle Assessment for Circular Economy: A Case Study with Hard Drives and Rare Earth Elements

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Life Cycle Assessment for Circular Economy: A Case Study with Hard Drives and Rare Earth Elements

9-10:30 AM 1.5 hours (2 CEUs)

Instructor: Hongyue Jin

Life cycle assessment (LCA) for circular economy involves multiple products in different life cycle stages. To reduce the uncertainties related to allocation, the system boundary should include both the first and extended life cycles to clearly show the impacts of reuse and recycling. This course will use a case study on value recovery from hard disk drives to show an LCA application for circular economy. Both initial and the second lives of hard drive, its components (i.e., rare earth magnets), and materials (e.g., rare earth elements and precious metals) are included in the system boundary, and the impacts of different allocation methods and system boundaries will be discussed. As the results vary significantly depending on these assumptions, LCA practitioners and policymakers should be careful in interpreting the LCA results.